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New Media and New Digital Economy

(San Francisco, California, U.S.A. - Jeff M. Wang)


- Overview

New Media is a 21st Century catchall term used to define all that is related to the Internet and the interplay between technology, images and sound. In fact, the definition of new media changes daily, and will continue to do so. New media evolves and morphs continuously. What it will be tomorrow is virtually unpredictable for most of us, but we do know that it will continue to evolve in fast and furious ways.

New media are forms of media that are native to computers, computational and relying on computers for distribution. Currently, some examples of new media are websites, mobile apps, virtual worlds, multimedia, computer games, human-computer interface, computer animation and interactive computer installations.


- Digital Changes Driving the New Digital Economy

Today, the notion that knowledge and information are costly and protectable is being challenged by the four forces of digital change. In combination, these forces are pushing the knowledge economy to the margins and giving rise to the "New" Digital Economy (NDE). The Internet has underpinned, enabled and accelerated many of these trends, and it lies at the core of the NDE as well.

  • Sharing, collaboration, and on-demand. Digital technologies make it easy to share information freely. Collaboration platforms create new pathways for knowledge production that depend on connections between people rather than on hierarchical controls. We are now seeing products become platforms that drive impressive new services in ways that were just not imagined when the products were first designed. A number of new commercial online services have emerged in recent years, each promising to reshape some aspect of the way people go about their lives. Some of these services offer on-demand access to goods or services with the click of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone app. Others promote the commercialized sharing of products or expertise, while still others seek to connect communities of interest and solve problems using open, collaborative platforms.
  • Hyperconnectivity. Information systems, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), are generating powerful live information flows. Our enthusiasm for creating these data streams - from devices and ourselves - implies that information at the point of creation is more valuable than any legacy knowledge. Soon everything will be connected; every asset, supplier, worker and stakeholder. This means products can now work together to get jobs done faster and even safer than ever before. However, hyperconnectivity driven by the rise of the digital-everything economy and IoT will soon disrupt the cybersecurity landscape in a way that hasn’t been seen in the past. 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI and other advanced analytics technologies decrease information processing costs. With the proper dataset behind it, AI can help alleviate many repetitive and redundant tasks, changing the way humans approach work. Today, AIs can write poetry and songs, discover new compounds in medicine, can be used to create information and to counter fake news. It may not be long before an AI receives a patient. Just as companies used capital to accelerate through the experience curve in manufacturing, it is now possible to use machine learning to power through the experience curve of the digital economy. We are now in a world where things get done faster, more easily, with more accuracy, and based on better knowledge. Everything we do is touched in some way by AI. AI is becoming more and more ingrained into our lives.
  • Crowdsourcing the world’s cognitive surplus. Wikipedia, YouTube, and Linux are early examples of using collaboration technology to harness latent cognitive capacity around the globe to topple traditional sources of competitive advantage. Tapping into the intelligence of groups - within a company or around the globe - can help organizations combat bias, make better decisions, and compete for talent and ideas with the help of artificial intelligence. Think of crowdsourcing as applying the principles of the sharing economy to cognitive surpluses. Many people have thoughts, ideas, and skills with real business value that often go unused. Companies can tap into those surpluses both internally and externally, often with the help of technology. In fact, Alphabet’s former executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has predicted that the next $100 billion company will likely result from the wisdom of the many. 

Together, these forces mean all knowledge has true competitive value only at the moment it is created. It decays quickly into legacy knowledge. The only way to find competitive advantage in this digital economy is to become a Live Business: to learn to use information in the moment to make decisions, meet demand, and respond to customers. The difference between thriving in the legacy knowledge economy and thriving in the new digital economy is the speed at which companies can act on data from all sources.  


- Why is Digitization So Important? 

The New Digital Economy (NDE) is not only reshaping the economy and changing people's day-to-day life, but also creating enormous business opportunities worldwide. To meet the information requirements necessary to capitalize on the NDE, firms must first digitize, connect and collect data on all of their assets, suppliers, workers and stakeholders. They also need high-speed platform technology capable of quickly analyzing the data from multiple angles and combining internal content with external information. 

One of the main advantages of digitization is the ‘shortcut’ it offers when developing useful services for the people, especially where resources are few. However, digitization is a means to achieve a goal and not a goal itself. The goal of digitizing and transforming industry and services aims to establish the next generation digital platforms and re-build the underlying digital supply chain on which all economic sectors are dependent. It should enable all economic sectors and application areas to adapt, transform and benefit from digitization, notably by allowing also smaller players to capture value. Digital platforms are becoming a key factor in one economic sector after another, enabling new types of services and applications, altering business models and creating new marketplaces.   



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